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Gardendale's First Baptist Church

Steve Gaines, Senior Pastor
Project Financial Planning

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This ministry experienced tremendous growth and was faced with a large relocation project. The first phase was in the tens of millions of dollars. They were getting positive feedback from the financing marketplace as to viability, so they proceeded with the costly design of this phase. After developing the design and having better cost estimates for the project, the ministry went to the financing marketplace. They were told that they could not borrow even half of what they needed. Furthermore, the financing marketplace was insistent that they implement a capital pledge campaign, even though that was contrary to the ministry's principles and despite the fact that the ministry had successfully inplemented stewardship principles that did not rely on campaigns.


The ministry hired SCG to assist with creating a financial plan that would allow the ministry to fulfill God's vision for the first phase of the relocation, while balancing its ministry programming needs with the needs of the financing marketplace. SCG performed an in-depth study of the ministry's financial history, financial beliefs/culture and its first phase needs. The study showed the ministry 1) the effects of its Financial Culture on its relocation plans; 2) the gap between the ministry's Financial Faith and the financing community's Financial Faith, including the issues the financing marketplace had with the proposed funding plan; and 3) what financial steps could be taken, using the ministry's existing Financial Culture, to bridge the gap in Financial Faith.

Why it Worked

SCG understood both the financing community's limited knowledge of ministry financing and the validity of the ministry's needs. SCG was able to implement a Project Financial Planning Process that let the ministry bridge the gap in Financial Faith without having to compromise its beliefs. The planning process gave the ministry the confidence needed to make slight changes to the funding plan that would be positively viewed by the financing marketplace, thereby increasing the chances of success in gaining the needed financing. By-products of the Project Financial Planning Process included the following benefits:

  • The ministry gained insight into the financial implication of the funding plan to ministry/programming needs, so the relocation plan could be properly prioritized.
  • Understanding the implications of its Financial Culture reinforced for the ministry the validity of its proposed funding plan.
  • It also helped the ministry understand why past financial initiatives may not have been readily accepted by the congregation.
  • The ministry can now be more cost-efficient in the re-design of the project.

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